Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fashion is Def on the Rise in Salone!

Okay oh....I'm back! LoL. Have you ever been around a group of Sierra Leoneans preparing to go home for the holiday season? Well today I was in the company of a group of women who are planning to head home for Christmas after being away for a few years. While with these women, I heard a lot of talk about how they are going to be "doing it up", and how the things that they have purchased or will purchase are "top of the line", how "nobody nah Salone go get dis kind style", and how in Salone "dem pekin dem go colay pan mi" Well, well, well...some folks will be in for a rude awakening because Salone titi dem don really up-to-date when e cam pan fashion.

When I visited Sierra Leone this past summer, fashion was definitely a huge part of the social scene. The thing that impressed me most was the way they were able to incorporate western styles into traditional African attire; I believe the opening of a new shop called Aschobi Designs can be attributed to this new rise in African fashion. They have some of the most unique, beautifully designed clothes ever. Geez, can you imagine...I went to this poetry show one night in Sierra Leone, I walked into the place and I was bombarded with a myriad of this new, hip, style of African traditional wear. At the time, ah jus bin wan tro way mi sef bcuz I felt like I needed to also partake in this new revolution...damn, why didn't I know this was the deal in Sierra Leone?!?! Now, don't get it twisted I still looked banging that night but So the next time I got an opportunity, off I went on my search for the perfect Aschobi Designs dress. I needed something to wear for an event I was heading to that evening, so I definitely wanted to be draped in something from the shop. When I finally got there, I searched, searched, and searched for the perfect "Kadija" dress...I am very picky and it is so hard for me to make a decision under pressure and believe me the pressure was on because time was definitely against me. So, I headed over to the wall where there was a whole host of pictures with different models showing off some of the designs. The dresses were so on point, but everything that I pointed to stating that I wanted was followed by "this is already specially designed for someone else", or "this is currently not available at the time". Unfortunately, I must say that I had to leave the shop empty handed because "someone" was rushing the mess out of me calling every minute to see what was taking me so long and I still hadn't even gotten the chance to try something on. Nonetheless, I don't even think that what I wanted to buy would have even been ready for me at that particular moment because I think they had to do a dress fitting and I just didn't have time for all of that. But, what I do know is that no mess like that will happen again, trust that next time I am leaving with a dress or two or three in

So basically, what I am trying to say is, for all of you JCs wae feel say una go go kill all man wit una western style dem dis holiday season, nah fo take u tem and pick u clothes right oh! Nor feel say di Salone of yestaday nah di Salone of tiday oh! Especially when it comes to the fashion arena. If you feel say you nah bluff uman, then you better definitely come with your A game cuz dem titi dem nah Salone tough oh! LoL

...nothing but love and a whole lot of fun. Until next time...peace!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Back to reality...but reality isn't too bad!

So, I have been on hiatus for sometime now...seems like forever! A lot has happened over these past few months or so, it just is too much to explain. I returned back to the US from my trip in sweet mama Salone about 2 months ago and I am starting to get back into the swing of things again, but believe me, when I came back to America I was on big time depression mode! I just could not (or would not) get Sierra Leone off of my mind. Going to Salone this past summer confirmed three things in my life, 1) that Sierra Leone is where I want to be living in the near future, 2) Sierra Leone def has a very promising future and 3)well I will keep that to myself...heeheehee....I digress.

From the time I arrived at Dulles Airport with my family and friends, the only things on my mind were, how much fun my cousin and I would have in Sierra Leone with our other loved ones to celebrate completing our four years in college.. But, much to my surprise ( I mean trust me I still had a blast) things had suddenly switched up and the airline company would not allow my cousin to board the flight because of some immigration issues....aaahhh!!! When you talk about prayers and serious persuasion tactics going on, man we tried everything! Nothing would work, the airline people said no and it was final. So here I was, I had my summer planned out to have such an amazing experience with my homegirl by my side and that just wasn't going to happen. Finally, we said our tear-filled good-byes and I proceeded to embark upon my journey back home alone.

After what seemed like a short plane trip, I arrived in London, Heathrow Airport, I set off to check myself in to board onto my other flight (bad mistake!) which was set to leave in an hour and a half or so. The problem was that I didn't need to check in again because I had already been electronically checked in all the way through back from America. So, here I was in London, by myself, in this huge airport, with confusing signs, and with 15 minutes to go before the gates for my flight to Sierra Leone to close (darn it!!!). Aye yah! If you could have seen me running through London's Heathrow airport...oh gosh! By the time I got to my departure gate, everyone had already boarded and the gates were just about to close on my behind. I was so out of breath I could barely speak (note to self...begin working out again!) but thanks be to God, I was able to board my flight, and off I went to see mama! I was so stoked!

From the moment I landed in Lungi Airport (Sierra Leone), I had VIP I'm telling you when they say that a person can only be King or Queen in their own country...they definitely didn't lie! I was greeted at the baggage pickup area by my sweetheart and I was informed that a protocol officer would be taking care of everything from that point on for me (oh!). I made my way into the VIP waiting room, where I met with the likes of top government officials and millionaires who traveled to Sierra Leone for business, and I immediately thought to myself..."hmmm...I am in good company! This trip may not be too bad after all!" and indeed it wasn't. I had the time of my life, I enjoyed myself so much that I even extended my trip!

My life in Sierra Leone, seemed so unreal compared to my normal, mundane, type of lifestyle in the states. There is just something about that little country on the west coast of Africa!

What I know is that it was a life changing experience for me, and I thank God for the opportunity to go to Sierra Leone. The trip really confirmed some things for me and there are nothing but smiles over here in my little corner!

Take care and God bless.

Salone's Sweetheart

Monday, July 14, 2008

LoL...Salone Fit mi yah!

So, I have been in Sweet Sierra Leone for like 3 weeks now and I am even more in love with the country.

About two weeks ago, Sierra Leone had their local council elections and the Thursday before the elections was APC day (APC, All People's Congress, is the government currently in power). To prepare for election, or I guess to get people hyped up, the government in power put together presidential convoy, which included all of the ministers, directors of offices in statehouse, APC people who were running for seats, and of course His Excellency, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the Vice President, Mr. Sam Sam-Sumana. I had the honor of being a part of the presidential convoy (I was with one of the ministers, Hon. Mabinty Daramy), and was such an interesting experience! Oh my goodness, when you talk about party loyalty...Sierra Leoneans have it! People were singing, laying their lappas on the ground so that the president's jeep could drive over it as a sign of, too much to explain. Anyway, when these people say that they will die for their party, I can actually say that that might not be too far from the truth! One lady, even came into the His Excellency's office at the APC Party office (yes oh, I was even in the President's office and we had a, but I was too shy to ask him to take a pic with! Don't worry though, I am sure I will meet him again!) and started screaming that she loved him, that she will do anything for him, and that she will die for him and the party!

Awww, Sweet have got to love it!!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ahhh...I'm finally here!!!

Yes, oh...I'm in Sierra Leone and am loving it! The weather is great (the raining season hasn't exactly picked up yet), the people are great, life is just GREAT! I've been here for about 6 days now, lol, and things have really changed since I last visited in January of 2004. I think that there has been a lot of improvement but there is still so much more work to be done, so this government and the people of Sierra Leone have their work cut out for them.

This week went by fairly fast, but what can you I expect? They say when you are having fun time flies by! far, I have gone to the clubs, specifically Old Skool and Paddy's and they were as fun as ever. Last night, I went to this spoken word event at Old Skool in their lounge area and it was pretty cool...that was my first time going to something like that. Afterwards, we headed to Plan B before returning back to Old Skool to party around 12:30am or something...oh but my night didn't end at Old Skool, after partying there we ended the night at Paddy, better known as Last Stop (LoL, no matter where you partied earlier in the evening, people always tend to end the night at Paddy's). I've also gone out to a few restaurants or eateries that I have heard about from other folks who frequent or recently visited SL. One place I hit up for breakfast was Crown Bakery (or Factory??? I can't remember), I ordered pancakes, a croissant, and a smoothie...Frankly, I am sorry to say but everything was disgusting to me...sorry! That place might be a bit overrated...Tomorrow evening I plan on going to Country Lodge for dinner, so that should be interesting.

Anyway, I have to run...but please do check for updates!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008


I have so much work to do, but of course my brain has perfect timing and just will not allow me to take my mind off of Salone. Man...I miss Sierra Leone so much, I can't wait to go home again because it seems like forever since I last visited. (January 2005!)

Anyway, until then...I will just listen to my SL music and prepare for Independence Day weekend.

Don't forget to keep Sierra Leone in your prayers!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Dear Brothers and Sisters of Sierra Leone,

You have the opportunity to participate in a survey which will collect information about Sierra Leoneans in the US for future use in coordinating the population for the creation of development projects. The survey can be found here: Survey for Diaspora-Driven Development. It is completely voluntary, and approximately 900 other Sierra Leoneans have been invited to participate. To achieve the utmost success, feel free to send this e-mail and/or survey link to anyone you know who may be interested.

Why am I so interested, you ask? I recently returned from conducting a five-month internship with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Freetown where I ran a project called Temporary Return of Qualified Nationals (TRQN) with Sierra Leoneans residing in the Netherlands. The project's success and the things I learned while in your amazing country proved that I need to continue improving upon the work that I did there, so I have decided that I want to create an avenue for Sierra Leoneans in the US to run projects like the men and women from the Netherlands were able to.

While there, I witnessed the successful run-off election process, the inauguration of the new President, the return of nearly continuous electricity, the return of many Sierra Leoneans living throughout the world to take governmental positions, and the creation of an entire advisory office under the President to handle Diaspora Affairs. If you are not already aware, Sierra Leone knows that it needs its brothers and sisters abroad for the country to achieve its remarkable potential. Please take the time to help: Survey for Diaspora-Driven Development.

This survey will help to identify who you are as individuals and as a collective population with a large voice. Hopefully, with your large voice identified, you will be able to work side by side with developmental organizations and funding agencies to create and participate in developmental projects in Sierra Leone! Once these offices recognize you as a motivated population, everything else will fall into place.
All participation in this survey is completely voluntary and will be kept confidential. By submitting the survey, you will have provided your consent to participate.

You will have until April 30th to complete it, and I suggest that you allow yourself at least 30 minutes to respond to its questions. If you have any questions or any concerns regarding the survey and my intentions, feel free to contact me at or (609)828-0289. If calling, please only call Monday through Friday between the hours of 5pm and 10pm.

I hope that you will take into consideration the wonderful things that may come about as a result of the information collected from you in this survey and you will help me in raising awareness about Sierra Leone's potential. Thank you in advance for the information you provide and the progress that you are going to help pave for in Sweet Salone!

Please take the survey and send it along to those you know: Survey for Diaspora-Driven Development.
Robyn Mello
University of Delaware Research
Migration & Development

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Investing in Sierra Leone

Okay, so I know it has been awhile since I last's just that it's been somewhat of a challenge trying to juggle work, my course load (yes, finals are right around the corner!!!) and some other miscellaneous stuff. Nonetheless, I am somewhat free and ready to post something!

Also, I am facing somewhat of a bitter-sweet moment...over the weekend my car slammed into a curb (it was raining) and it had to be towed to the mechanic. It was in the shop for almost 3 days, I just got it back today. I was elated when I picked it up, that was my sweet moment...but I had to pay $900 to fix it, definitely a bitter moment. *Tear*

Sierra Leone's Vice-President, Honorable Samuel Sam-Sumana, recently visited the United States (I'm not too sure whether or not he is still here) to "meet" the Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora. To my knowledge, one of his key topics of discussion during these town hall meetings was for Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora to return home. He stressed that in 36 months he, the President of Sierra Leone, and their government were determined to "change the face of the country" by God e powa. He admitted though that this 180 degree turn would be a trying task and that the government needs the help of Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora.

In my opinion, this is a great idea. I mean to have Sierra Leoneans who have lived oversees for quite sometime go back and estabilish businesses, which in turn will help to boost the economy, which will then lead to the creation of more jobs, and so on so forth...Ah, the day! Not that I believe that the VP's plea to Sierra Leoneans to come home and rebuild the nation is something impossible or anything, never that! I am an optimist. For me, if I had the capital I would succomb to the VP's plea in a heartbeat. LoL, I have some things in mind when it comes to investing in the country...I just have to figure out some ways on how to go about it...I digress. Yes, but I love what the VP is saying, in fact the APC isn't the first government to bring up this notion of Sierra Leoneans coming home, if I can recall...the SLPP have also shared similar sentiments.

So now that this whole idea is nothing new to us...what is stopping us from investing in Mama Salone? Could it be that we lack the funding to start a business out there (I think I fall in this category), we don't know what to invest in (there are many things to invest in...mind you), or maybe we just aren't opening our eyes to the endless amount of potential that Salone has locked in it and is just waiting to be opened. Whatever the case may be (and I am sure there are many other scenarios that I failed to mention) I just really would like to see some major developments in our country. We can not just depend on the government to do everything for us anymore, it is time that able-bodied Sierra Leoneans in the diaspora do more to help our country. For example, in the America, it is our small businesses that keep our countries economy going (that may not have been the best example with the way things are looking in the US now...but you get the point,I hope...) So in Sierra Leone, I believe that we could work wonders if more of us would also invest in it by starting small businesses. There are so many markets in SL just waiting to be tapped into, will more Sierra Leoneans give into the VP's plea? Who knows...I guess we will all stay tuned and see who is ready to take a chance on Salone.

Until then, keep SL in your prayers...put all of your trust in God and a brighter day will surely come. ~SMOOCHES~

"It does not matter what the future holds, all that matters is that I trust WHO holds the future."